However, everyone has their own beard story and I would like to use my blog to help get as many different stories out there as possible.
With this in mind, let me introduce you to Ed Renwick. Ed not only has an epic beard, but he is also an ambassador for two great organisations, Decembeard UK and TreeBeard Balm and Waxes. He has taken some time out to answer some questions about his beard care regime………..and his beloved Newcastle Utd.
What made you first grow a beard?
I have always had some form of facial hair growth on my face since I was able to grow it, so quite a while now. Although for much of that time I had a goatee, which I suppose is a type of beard of sorts.
In terms of a full beard, I’ve been in full flow for the past five years. Due to the nature of my job, full facial hair historically is frowned upon, but as times have changed it has enabled me to embrace the new mentality towards facial hair and unleash my inner beard.
Around five years ago, I was asked by a colleague to take part in a company wide initiative to raise money for Beating Bowel Cancer by way of the Decembeard movement. That was the starting point to me becoming literally ‘attached, physically and emotionally to my beard’.
I was able to grow the beard for a full three months, long enough to get well past the itchy stage and also long enough to get the growth required to enjoy it and want to keep it. From that point on, I continued with the beard, changing the length at times but never taking it off entirely.
Describe your grooming regime. How do you keep it looking so great?
I have done exactly what everyone who grows a beard seriously has done, gone onto the internet to find out the ultimate grooming regime.
What I learned is there are some good techniques, but you have to find your own way as facial hair has a will of its own at times and doesn’t always want to be compliant.
I started with a very long winded, complex routine that took some time every day, around 30 minutes which is a long time really. I have over the years fine tuned it, to the following:
- Thoroughly wet my beard, soak it actually so it is dripping with water. Don’t dab is dry go straight to step 2.
- Brush it upwards with a normal hair brush, medium bristles then brush it downwards.
- Use a beard comb with 0.5cm wide teeth, brush downwards and hold whilst using hair dryer to dry and straighten.
- Sometimes, depending on how your hair grows a kink can appear at the chin area, brush the hair up and turn outwards to straighten the kink.
- Put beard balm on, rubbing generously all the way through the beard and then repeat hair drying but with a finer comb.
- Brush it through with an Afro comb to straighten the more pubic/curlier than normal hairs under the chin.
- Finally, using a hogs hair brush, shape it into place.
Sounds a lot but this takes less than ten minutes in total.
- At night, before going to sleep I add some beard oil and let it sit all night and soak in.
- Final point, I use beard soap 1-2 times per week, at night before bed. Don’t groom it, just brush it through afterwards, oil and leave it overnight.
What products do you use? What would you recommend?
I use Treebeard products primarily, soap, balm and oils. They are easy to apply, smell great and keep the beard looking healthy.
Who is your beardspiration?
I won’t lie, Gandalf is my inspiration. I plan in my retirement to go for exactly that look, robes and all!
In terms of real people, Jimmy Niggles from Australia has the best beard I have ever seen. It is about as good as it gets and something we can all aspire to.
As a Newcastle Utd supporter, I have to ask. What do you think of Rafa’s goatee?
It suits him very well. I’m not sure he would suit anything else. He is perfect the way he is.
What do your friends and family think of your beard?
Love this question.
My beard has not been embraced by everyone I have to admit. I have four children, who all love it. My youngest uses it as a comforting aid and plays with it to help her relax or go to sleep.
My mother on the other hand, hates it and much prefers a clean shaven son. That will never change and is something she always comments on whenever I see her.
Friends all seem to like it. I did last year take the whole beard off after caving into pressure for a change, but I did end up grieving for two weeks and wishing it would grow back quicker.
Everyone who saw me without it wanted me to grow it back and that was solid enough for me to know, I look better with half of my face hidden. Make of that what you will.
How have you dealt with negative reactions to your beard?
There’s not been many occasions where I’ve had negative feedback or comments. But I also have tattoos so people can put you in a box and make a judgement but that is the minority.
I find 98% of the time it’s positive, with 2% negative, so nothing I lose sleep over. That 2% is my mother!
I get stopped by a lot of people, asking about it or wanting a photo taken. Sounds weird I know but it’s true! In fact, last week in London a couple came up to me and the wife stated she wanted her husband to have a similar look to me and asked for a photo. The husband took the photo of me and his wife sat next to me. Very strange!
How did you first get involved with Decembeard and Treebeard?
The first year I started raising money, I got hooked and became very involved in raising money and looked at other ways to bring others onto the same journey. This was noticed by Decembeard and I was asked to become an ambassador for them, attending launches etc. I have continued that activity ever since.
I actually contacted Treebeard myself to see if they were looking for an ambassador as I’d already been using their products and that was welcomed by the owner of the company.
What advice would you give to someone growing a beard for the first time?
Don’t read and watch too many ways on how to groom your beard or how to make it grow quicke,r as most of it is just filler. Also, not every beard is the same, grows the same or looks the same, so it’s important to find a regime that works for you.
Having a good selection of combs, brushes and grooming products is definitely essential and will make keeping it looking the way you want much easier.
The main thing to remember, is you have to persevere and don’t give up. Average hair grows at half an inch per month, so if you are looking to grow your beard, keep it for at least 2-3 months then go from there.
I know people have issues with itching in the early days. That is easily resolved by using beard oil even for very short hair. It does a great job of softening the hair, to make it less brittle and far less prone to itching. This is the most important product to make it tolerable while it’s growing.
Always brush it up before brushing it down and into place. It adds volume and stops it getting tangled up. Try to avoid pulling on it , or biting it around your lip area. Stroke it don’t pull it, as you can loosen hairs and also you’re adding the oils and other stuff you collect in a day on your hands onto your beard, which isn’t always hygienic.
Once you have your beard and you’ve got to around an inch in length, this is when you will really start enjoying the grooming aspects.
Last words of advice, if the dark day comes when you are thinking about taking it off, give it a day of thought for every month you have grown it. So, if it’s three months old, you should sit on it for three days and if you still feel the same, then fair play, but do give it serious thought. Don’t ever shave it off in anger, as it can take seconds to destroy something that has been months, sometimes years in the making.
Finally, don’t be put off growing a beard because your hair is patchy or doesn’t quite fill all the space. You will be pleasantly surprised by how it spreads as it grows and patches are covered quite easily. Be patient, be focused and be hairy.